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Cross-posted from the S.H.A.M.E. Project. For a reader’s digest version of this report, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s S.H.A.M.E. Profile

“I’m necessarily parasitic in a way. I have done well as a parasite. But I’m still a parasite.”

Malcolm Gladwell

In the vast ecosystem of corporate shills, which one is the most effective? Propaganda works best when it is not perceived as propaganda: nuance, obfuscation, distraction, suggestion, the subtle introduction of doubt—these are more effective in the long run than shotgun blasts of lies. The master of this approach is Malcolm Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell is the New Yorker’s leading essayist and bestselling author. Time magazine named Gladwell one of the world’s 100 most influential people. His books sell copies in the millions, and he is in hot demand as one of the nation’s top public intellectual and pop gurus. Gladwell plays his role as a disinterested public intellectual like few others, right down to the frizzy hairdo and smock-y getups. His political aloofness, high-brow contrarianism and constant challenges to “popular wisdom” are all part of his shtick. (more…)

June 6th, 2012 | Comments (34)

J. Hoberman Fired: Happy New Year!

Film critic J. Hoberman got axed from the Village Voice today, and old-school cineastes are rending their garments in grief and crying “Oh the humanity!” Personally, I hate J. Hoberman and the film criticism he rode in on, and I…

January 5th, 2012 | Comments (30)

Malcolm Gladwell, Paid Booster for Bank of America... A Step Up From His Big Tobacco Shilling?

This just in: Bank of America announced today that it had hired star New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell to frontline in its cross-country banking propaganda tour. According to the press release, BofA’s Bankapalooza rolled through Los Angeles, Dallas and D.C.,…

November 16th, 2011 | Comments (6)

Malcolm Gladwell: Tobacco Industry Shill?

Malcolm Gladwell has described himself as a “conversation starter” who likes to “ask questions.” Well, here’s a question for Malcolm Gladwell: When you wrote all those pro-tobacco articles and the tobacco industry executives sang your praises, were they paying you to be their shill? Or did you just volunteer to write tobacco-friendly propaganda, out of a sincere belief in the righteousness of their cause?

August 8th, 2011 | Comments (48)